An Interview with Yared Nigussu – National Champion Painter

An Interview with Yared Nigussu – National Champion Painter


May 22nd, 2014


Yared Nigussu – National Champion Painter

Tell us a little about your journey, how did you first get involved?

My journey started with a simple call saying “Hey Bro, we thought that you would love live competitive painting and be a great fit!” At first I didn’t understand what it was about, then after asking more about the concept, my answer was “YES, I AM IN!” I am so happy with my live competitive painting  journey. I won all the competitions in Vancouver as well as the championship in Toronto. It was a great opportunity to meet and paint with Toronto’s great artists.

Both Vancouver and Toronto’s audiences gave me their votes and their love! It is very important for an artist to get one step ahead, it helped me to reconnect with many talented artists and art lovers.

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As an artist who has worked in Ethiopia, France, Austria and now Canada, how has the range of cultural experiences impacted your work?

I think my work has some changes and evolution from time to time and place to place as my painting is a reflection of the culture where I am. I try to think like a Canadian while I am in Canada. When I am in Austria, France or Ethiopia my thoughts and artwork change according to their cultural influences.

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When you approach a live painting, do you go in with a plan, or let the work evolve organically?

I see first the image in my mind, and try to do what I see inside my head. Painting is a kind of deja vu for me, and the result is always different from what I intended. That is why I still keep painting. When I achieve the exact picture in my mind, that might be the end of my artistic journey. One thing what I know is I am always learning from my art while I am painting.

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You recently had a huge piece displayed at the US Consulate in Vancouver in honour of Barak Obama’s second inauguration, do you feel participating in international discussion with your work is important as an artist?

I painted the big painting of Obama just a week before his re-election and I finished the work on January 14th. At first I had just painted the piece for my private collection but there were a lot of people and friends asking what I was going to do with it. So I decided to send a letter to the White House and the U.S. Consulate in Vancouver. I was lucky enough that the U.S. consulate accepted to display the portrait of Barak Obama in their office.

Just as music is a world language, visual art has its own ability to impact and express feeling, and has a big role in creating opportunity for discussion internationally as well. We all are part of the show in everything that’s going on next door. We need to discuss with out border or limit.

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